Right Royal treat for brave troopsBy Laura Herbert
May 13, 2010
Soldiers from the Army Benevolent Fund were special guests at Reading FC’s last game of the season after they received a donation from a local businessman.
The 10 soldiers from 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) were invited by Kiren Sharma to Madejski Stadium to watch the Royals take on Preston North End.
And it seemed the special guests, who watched the game from Mr Sharma’s private box, were a good luck charm as Reading won 4-1.
Mr Sharma, managing director of Gravity Personnel, said: “We have been supporting the Army Benevolent Fund for quite a while and we have done quite a few things for them recently including sending some soldiers to Aldershot Football Club to watch a game.
“There was a collection at Madejski Stadium and we invited a number of soldiers, who had just got back from Afghanistan, to our box to watch the game and receive the donation.”
A cheque for £1,377 was handed to Brigadier Peter Walker to go towards the fund which supports soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need.
Of the money, £377 was raised from an Elvis night at Chi Restaurant in Oxford Road, West Reading, on Wednesday, April 21, and a further £1,000 contribution was from Mr Sharma.
“We have always had a great passion for these guys who go out and put their lives on the line,” said Mr Sharma.
“It’s quite sad to see quite a few of them that have been badly injured.
“It’s to show our appreciation and to show they have not been forgotten. It’s our way of helping the soldiers and their families.”
The Army Benevolent Fund also held its annual collection at the ground and raised £2,267 from generous supporters.
Brig Walker said: “It was super, Kiren was an extremely good host. After the game the soldiers came out through the players’ entrance and they got a round of applause.”